Posts Tagged ‘cricket’

Ex-chairman Sethi serves another legal notice on Pakistan Cricket Board

LAHORE: Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Najam Sethi, on Friday issued another legal notice to the PCB after not being satisfied with the reply to the first notice he sent late last month in a case of defamation.

Sethi issued the first legal notice on Oct 29 after the PCB put figures of his perks and benefits on its website.

Disagreeing with the figures, Sethi issued a legal notice to the Board and warned it of a legal action for defaming his name.

On Nov 9, the PCB sent a reply to Sethi against his first legal notice. However on Friday, he sent another legal notice as he was not satisfied with the reply.

To a question, Sethi told Dawn sending the second notice to the PCB was a legal requirement, adding if they do not apologise to him (Sethi), he will have no other option but to move the court against the Board for what he called its attempt to defame him.

Sources told Dawn that Ehsan Mani has been advised within the PCB not to get involved in any such activities like posting the details of previous chairmen on the website, as it may trigger a controversy.

However, sources added, Ehsan differed with the advice just because he might be facing pressure from high-ups.

In his second legal notice, Sethi rejected PCB’s stance that the figures about his perks and benefits were issued as an ordinary practice.

“In the light of the foregoing we reiterate our demand that the PCB and Mr. Ehsan Mani apologise to Mr Najam Sethi for this blatantly malicious attack on him. It is not in dispute that the figures published by the PCB are misleading and incorrect. The reply claims that this disclosure was motivated solely by PCB’s transparency and accountability policy but no such policy has been actually produced or referred to the reply. The reply also fails to enumerate any single instance where any comparable disclosure has been made by the PCB in the past. And the reply further fails to disclosure has been made by the PCB in the past. And the reply further fails to disclose any rational reason why the chart focuses almost exclusively on the expenses of Mr Sethi,” it concludes.

Meanwhile, while giving reply to PCB’s responses, the legal notice states, “As of Aug 20, 2018, no such “transparency and accountability policy” relating to expenses and benefits of members of the PCB Board of Governors, Chairman of the PCB or heads of committees set up by the BoG had been approved by the Board of the PCB.

“To the best of Mr Sethi’s knowledge, no such policy has been adopted by the BoG after Aug 20, 2018 either. No such policy shown to have been adopted in the minutes of any BoG meeting since the new Chairman (Ehsan Mani) was elected. The reply is therefore false,” he said.

About PCB’s reply relating to two controversial amounts of Rs14,181,570 as PSL allowance and of Rs6,064,516 Sethi has replied: “You claim that there are no amounts noted in the Chart which are incorrect. This is false. The chart is titled “chairman PCB expense and benefits” and if notes an amount of Rs14,181,570 as “PSL Allowance” paid to Mr Sethi. However, you have now admitted that this amount was never paid to Mr Sethi. It is therefore an admitted fact that the chart is misleading and incorrect.

“The reply claims that the amounts stated in the chart are not misleading because the amount of Rs14,181,570 was approved as PSL Allowance for Mr Sethi and because a “payment…was made to Mr Sethi vide cheque dated Aug 10, 2018 for Rs6,064,516: once again, this is false and misleading.

“It is now admitted by you that no payment was ever received by Mr Sethi as PSL Allowance. Indeed, to the best of Mr Sethi’s knowledge, no cheque for any amount of PSL Allowance was ever even received by him and PCB has furthermore, even if it is assumed (without conceding) that a cheque for Rs6,064,516 was received by Mr Sethi, the fact remains that no cheque for the remaining amount of PSL Allowance (per our calculations, a pre-tax amount of Rs7,134,725) was ever made out by the PCB, let alone received by Mr Sethi.

“Indeed even today, the PCB does not claim that it made out any such cheque for the remaining amount of the PSL Allowance. It is therefore again evident that the amounts shown as PSL Allowance in the chart were only included to malign Mr Sethi,” the legal notice further stated.

Moreover, Sethi’s reply also claims that current PCB chairman is not living in any furnished apartment provided by PCB as of Sept 30, 2018. However, this is deliberately misleading. First, the deliberate emphasis on Sept 30, 2018 only highlights the fact that Mr Mani has ordered the Admin Department of PCB to rent access to a furnished apartment paid for by the PCB as per the chairman’s perks. Second, to the extent that Mr Mani was not using a furnished apartment, he was certainly using a five-star hotel room paid for by the PCB. Presumably all of this will be revealed if and when the PCB discloses Mr Mani’s expenses for the quarter ending on Dec 31, 2018.

Sethi also objected over the PCB treatment given to another chairman Shaharyar M. Khan for not issuing his perks and benefits of entire three years but only for one year, and 25 other individuals, too.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2018

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Poverty reduction initiative within days: Imran

LAHORE: Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan has hinted at launching the first-of-its-kind mega poverty alleviation venture within seven to 10 days to bring people out of abject poverty in the country.

“The poverty alleviation package will be the most important component in the PTI government’s 100-day performance to be unveiled before the people of Pakistan within the next few days,” Mr Khan said.

He said it would be a coordinated effort of all the state organs already working on the project. “All the relevant state organs will work under one umbrella,” he said.

Acknowledging the advice and guidance of China, the prime minister said, “We have learnt from our China visit how they did the historic job of bringing 700 million people out of poverty in just three decades.”

PM opens construction of first shelter home in Lahore, says Pakistan has come out of financial crisis

Laying the foundation stone for the first shelter home Panah Gah near the railway station, the prime minister said it would be the first step towards transforming Pakistan into a welfare state. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” he quoted a Chinese proverb.

Later, the prime minister tweeted: “Today, I laid foundation for first of five shelters for the homeless in Lahore and one in Rawalpindi to be followed by shelters in other cities. We are committed to building a social net for our poor citizens so everyone has a shelter over his/her head and access to health and education.”

Mr Khan said the Panah Gah project would benefit the homeless and needy. The visitors would be offered quality food to be provided by philanthropists. “Such people were never taken care of in previous governments,” he lamented. He said the other shelters would be established at Icchra, Chauburji, Data Darbar and Shahdara.

He said the financial crisis that was looming large in the country did not allow the government to focus on projects like shelter homes in its first two-and-a-half months. “Now, the country is out of the financial crisis as it is in a position to pay off the loan and interest instalments,” he asserted.

Emphasising that the Panah Gah projects will be made centres of excellence, the prime minister said that a board of governors (BoG) would oversee the maintenance and functioning of these centres. “The BoG will finalise the policy for the shelter homes,” he added.

The prime minister said that he would recommend names for the board of governors. He said he had met several such philanthropists and people of high calibre during his two-decade experience of running the Shaukat Khanum cancer hospital.

Acknowledging that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is a humble person who is well aware of the miseries of the poor, the prime minister said Mr Buzdar picked his point well on establishing the shelters and immediately located five sites in Lahore and started work on the project within no time. He also acknowledged the diligence and passion of LDA Director General Amina Imran Khan in executing the welfare project. Mr Khan said the chief minister’s selection had invited fiery comments and reservations from within the party. He asserted that Mr Buzdar would come out as a star performer like his selected boys in cricket — Wasim Akram and Inzamamul Haq. Looking towards Buzdar sitting on the stage, Mr Khan said, “Another Wasim Akram will emerge from Punjab’.

The prime minister said he had also asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister to find locations to establish shelter homes in Peshawar. Similarly, he said, the Sindh governor had also been instructed and the chief minister would be asked to work on establishing shelter homes in Karachi and other big cities in the province.

Answering a question about the government stance on the release of Aasia Bibi, the prime minister said, “A government always stands with Supreme Court decisions to help the country to move forward”. The rule of law depends upon accepting the decisions of the Supreme Court, he added.

PM’s Punjab Initiatives

The prime minister later chaired a meeting to review the `Prime Minister’s Punjab Initiatives’ at the Chief Minister Secretariat.

Mr Khan stressed that the Punjab government should find out some innovative ways of governance.

The meeting discussed proposals to transform the governance system to bring about visible change in people’s lives. The Punjab cabinet informed the prime minister about different priorities and targets and their implementation. It also informed the premier about Punjab’s 100-day plan and its implementation. The 100 days are completing on Nov 29.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2018

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PCB terminates franchise agreement with Schon Group for Multan Sultans

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Saturday that the agreement which gave franchise rights of Multan Sultans PSL team to the Schon Group has been terminated.

A joint statement issued by the PCB and Schon Properties Broker LLC said all rights in respect of the sixth Pakistan Super League (PSL) team have reverted back to the board as a result of the agreement’s termination.

“The termination was brought about due to the former franchisee’s inability to meet its financial obligations under the agreement,” the statement revealed.

Dubai-based Schon Group had ,acquired the Multan franchise, for an eight-year contract worth $5.2 million (per annum) in a bid held last year, surpassing Karachi Kings as the most expensive franchise.

The PCB statement confirms that the fourth edition of PSL will go ahead as planned with six teams and the same number of matches.

“The board shall take complete responsibility of all player and coach contracts,” it said, adding that pending further updates, the team will be referred to as “The Sixth Team” of PSL.

The team selection for the Sixth Team at the player draft scheduled for November 20 will be done by the PCB itself, according to the statement.

A public tender process will then be started to grant repackaged rights of the team, the board has stated.

“The rights holder would have the option of choosing the sixth franchise city and name,” said PCB.

Asher Schon of the Schon Group was quoted as saying in the statement: “It has been a privilege being a PSL team owner over the past year. I am proud of the support Schon has always extended to Pakistan cricket and current affairs notwithstanding, will continue to passionately support it.”

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said the dissolution of the agreement was unfortunate, but that it was necessary that the contract obligations are abided by.

“While this is an unfortunate turn of events, we have to ensure strict adherence to contractual obligations for the well-being of PSL. We wish Schon Group well with their future endeavours,” Mani was quoted as saying.

“I want to reassure our partners… that the Pakistan Super League will take place as planned,” he added.

The fourth season of the PSL will commence in the UAE on February 14, 2019.

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Imam clears scans, rejoins team after scary blow to the helmet: PCB

Opening batsman Imamul Haq, who was taken to hospital after being hit on the head by a short ball in Pakistan’s six-wicket win over New Zealand on Friday, has cleared the tests and rejoined the team.

The 22-year-old was forced to retire after a short delivery from fast bowler Lockie Ferguson hit the grill of his helmet, making him dizzy before he fell to the ground.

His eyes were closed but he did not lose consciousness.

Team management originally said that the 22-year-old would undergo CT scans and be monitored for the next 48 hours.

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) later said that scans had shown that the player had suffered no damage.

“Imam-ul-Haq all scans clear. He joined the team and will remain under observation of Team Physio,” the PCB tweeted.

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No question of replacing Sarfraz as captain: Ehsan Mani

LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has to play an effective role in ensuring bilateral series among all the cricket-playing countries and the Pakistan Cricket Board will raise its voice at the international forum for it.

“I have already talked about it, though informally, at the ICC level. But now I am in the PCB and I will raise it more effectively that the ICC should ensure the bilateral series among all the countries,” Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani told Dawn in an exclusive interview here.

“Look, if there is no bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, why do they play us in the ICC tournaments,” he asked.

It may be mentioned here that during Mani’s tenure as the ICC president, India visited Pakistan in 2004 after a yawning gap of 15 years and it was the first series played between the two arch-rivals after five years. And a couple of more series between Pakistan and India were played till 2007.

However, since the signing of an MoU in 2014 between the two boards to resume bilateral, India has constantly refused playing Pakistan, claiming the MoU is not a legal binding and the Indian government is not allowing the Indian team to play Pakistan on bilateral level.

‘ICC needs to ensure India play bilateral series with us’

The PCB had filed a case against BCCI in the ICC, demanding a compensation of US$69 million.

“Yes, the case is in ICC and both the countries have to accept its decision. Unfortunately, it has never happened in the history of the ICC that two cricket boards are fighting a case against each other. Had I been at the helm at the time of filing the case, I would have preferred to resolve the matter through negotiation,” he said.

“I played a key role as ICC president to resume Indo-Pak cricket in 2004 through dialogue and I also persuaded England to visit Zimbabwe after setting aside the political stance of their government about the situation in Zimbabwe at that time,” recalled Mani.

When reminded that the PCB had held the dialogue with BCCI before filing the case, Mani said the dialogue should have continued and it would have been wise to involve the governments of the two countries for a better solution of the problem.

Asked if he had a plan B if Pakistan loses the case in the ICC, Mani said: “My intention is not to beg for cricket and to talk with anyone on equal term. We are ready to play and we have to go with each other. But at the moment the BCCI is not in a position to take any decision due to its own elections and the general elections in the country. The current BCCI body is unaware what will happen after the elections”.

“Then we will talk and if we fail we will again raise voice in the ICC since its constitution has the clauses against government interference, but there have to be discussion over the nature of the interference,” he observed.

Answering another question regarding the recent comments made by former opener and newly-appointed chairman of the PCB cricket committee Mohsin Khan about skipper Sarfraz Ahmed that should be relieved from the burden of Test captaincy, the chairman said: “I can’t understand why media is raising this issue. Sarfraz is captain for all the three formats and there is no question of changing him since the team is doing well”.

“Pakistan drew the Test series on England soil under Sarfraz’s captaincy and recently won against Australia in the UAE. He is Pakistan captain and there is no debate on this,” Mani categorically said. “It was an old statement of Mohsin about Sarfraz but now the situation is different. However, the media is raising it again and again,” he lamented.

He said Mohsin was picked as the chairman of the cricket committee because he had a vast experience of the game and his performance as head coach of Pakistan in 2010 to 2012 was very good.

When asked that he himself had made a statement in a recent media talk that Sarfraz’s performance would be reviewed before appointing him captain till the 2019 World Cup to be held in England, Mani denied it.

“I did not give any such statement. Sarfraz is the Pakistan captain till the time our team is giving satisfactory performance,” he said.

To another question about the criticism he received over the induction of Wasim Akram in the cricket committee, Mani said there was no bar on the PCB in hiring Wasim’s services under the light of the Justice Qayyum report.

However, when reminded that with PCB’s claims of zero-tolerance in match-fixing cases, it should have considered the fact that Wasim was fined Rs 300,000 by Justice Qayyum in match-fixing case and was also barred from captaining the Pakistan team, Mani said people were unnecessarily hitting at the former all-rounder.

Referring to the managing director’s post advertised recently by the PCB, Mani said he would continue as it was also the practice in the ICC.

“There is nothing in writing against Wasim Akram except not to make him captain and about that fine. He is not running the board, he is the best left-arm fast bowler of the world and other cricket boards are hiring his services too, then why should we not,” he asked.

To a question about any specific instructions or agenda of working from the PCB patron, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mani categorically said there were none. “No, he (Prime minister) knows that I watched cricket by many angles and I know his vision about the domestic cricket. I am also saying that for the last many years. The prime minister knows I have no personal agenda and I will just work on merit for the betterment of the national cricket.”

Asked about the future of departmental cricket, which appears uncertain since PM does not approve of it, Mani said a committee was working how to bring long lasting improvement in domestic cricket.

“We will safeguard the interest of the departments as well as of regions in taking a decision about domestic cricket,” he assured. He vowed the regions would be given the opportunity to stand on their on feet instead of relying just on the PCB’s sources.

He said his first priority was to hire the services of professional people in all the departments and the PCB would hire media director and marketing director as well pretty soon.

Speaking about T20 cricket, Mani termed it as a real threat to Test cricket which is the real form of the game. However he lauded the ICC for introducing the Test championship which he said would help a lot in rescuing Test cricket.

The chairman refused to comment on a legal notice served on him by his predecessor Najam Sethi for quoting wrong figures about the expenses incurred by the board during his term. “It is a legal case and I will not comment on it. But we will give a reply soon,” he said.

About the resumption of the foreign teams’ tours to Pakistan, Mani said good work had been done in the past by bringing World XI and by holding some matches of the PSL in Pakistan and he was in talks with some countries in this regard.

He disclosed that a meeting of the Asian Cricket Council will be held in Lahore on Nov 17 in which around 22 officials of different member countries will participate. He said though India was still undecided about attending it, Bangladesh had already confirmed.

To a question, he admitted that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was a profitable project and it would generate more profit as the title sponsorship rights for the next three years had been sold out in a handsome deal.

It is learnt that the title sponsorship amount this time round is Rs1.5 billion for the next three years compared to Rs1 billion for the first three edition of PSL.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

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Uprooting corruption, poverty alleviation top priorities, PM Khan says in China

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that uprooting corruption and bringing people out of poverty are the top priorities of his government.

PM Khan while delivering a speech at the Central Party School in Beijing hailed the bilateral cooperation between the countries.

Talking about his political journey, the premier said that he began his career as a cricketer before he entered politics.

“Pakistan at one point was an example for the developing world. In the 1960s we had quality universities. We had the highest growth rate. Our first five-year plan was emulated by South Korea and Malaysia,” he said, adding that unfortunately the nation lost its way due to corruption of the ruling elite.

He said that countries are poor not because of a lack of resources but due to the corruption of the elite, because it destroys state institutions.

PM Khan came down hard on money laundering and termed it the worst kind of corruption. “In my opinion, one of the biggest problem the world faces today is money laundering,” he added.

“Pakistan, unfortunately, after the mid-80s started suffering from corruption,” he said, adding that at that time, he was playing cricket.

He said that after he retired from cricket, he decided to join politics and the main agenda of his party was to combat corruption.

Take a look: ,China says willing to help Pakistan over fiscal crisis but more talks needed,

The prime minister maintained that initially his party was ignored by masses and it was after his 2011 visit to China when the party started gaining popularity.

Currently, he said, his main concern was strengthening institutions. “The stronger the state institutions, the lesser the corruption,” PM Khan said.

Talking about poverty alleviation, the prime minister said that a country can’t progress with glaring inequality in society. “This is where we admire China so much. No country in human history, has ever taken 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years as China has done,” he said, adding that the steps taken to that [effect] is what his party and his government were interested in.

He hailed Chinese leadership and thanked the country for her cooperation with Pakistan on various occasions. PM Khan highlighted that Beijing provided Islamabad with an opportunity, in the shape of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), to attract the much needed foreign investments.

Pak, China renew friendship pledge

China and Pakistan also renewed their friendship pledge today and agreed to further strengthen bilateral strategic cooperation and their partnership, according to a joint statement issued on Sunday.

According to the joint statement, the two sides agreed to take concrete measures to address the trade imbalance between the countries.

They expressed satisfaction at the operationalisation of the currency-swap agreement.

Beijing and Islamabad also agreed to further enhance cooperation against “three evils” of extremism, terrorism and separatism.

The Pakistani side reaffirmed its support to the Chinese side in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, and combating separatism, terrorism and extremism, including the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

During the visit, the two sides also signed 15 agreements and MoUs on a range of bilateral issues.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is in China on his first official at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. He met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Keqiang, and held a meeting with Chinese business leaders as well.

Besides Beijing, PM Khan will visit Shanghai to attend the First China International Import Expo where he will hold meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the event.

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Sethi sends legal notice to Mani for ‘presumably maligning him at Imran Khan’s behest’

Former ,PCB chairman Najam Sethi, on Monday sent a legal notice to his successor and incumbent board chief Ehsan Mani for allegedly defaming him.

The legal notice sent to Mani claims that the recently released numbers by the PCB regarding Sethi’s remuneration and benefits received were “incorrect, misleading, grossly exaggerated and deliberately calculated to hurt” his reputation.

Read: ,Ehsan Mani lauds Najam Sethi’s services for cricket in Pakistan,

Sethi, through his counsel, denied ever receiving “an amount or Rs14,181,570 as PSL Allowance”, while countering with an allegation of his own that Mani has been provided a furnished apartment by the board — which, he implies, negates the current PCB chair’s claim that he is not getting and accommodation allowance.

The PCB’s figures, according to the notice, mentioned a number of expenses but failed to add that “every single one of these allowances/payments were duly authorised and approved by the PCB’s Board of Governors”.

Furthermore, Sethi says, the PCB failed to inform that “the accounts of the PCB were audited by two external auditors”.

The journalist-turned-administrator’s legal team implies that their client was singled out, noting that if the purpose of the PCB’s report was to disclose the allowances paid to the entire executive committee, it should also have mentioned “the payments, increments and allowances paid to Chief Financial Officer Badar Manzur and Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmed” — both of whom are serving under Mani.

Sethi also points out that in 2017 the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sport had recommended that he be given “appropriate allowance for his successful staging of the PSL”.

In the light of this, Sethi deduces that the purpose for the PCB to release such figures was “to malign” him “presumably at the behest of Imran Khan”.

Sethi goes on to ask the board chairman to apologise and withdraw the report or else he will take legal action under the Defamation Ordinance, 2002.

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Ball-tampering report slams ‘arrogant’ Cricket Australia culture

A scathing review has blamed Australian cricket’s ball-tampering scandal on an “arrogant” and “controlling” culture overseen by the game’s national governing body that led to players cheating in pursuit of victory.

The independent review by the Sydney-based Ethics Centre accused Cricket Australia (CA) of only paying lip service to the spirit of the game, leaving players without moral guidance.

The review, which CA commissioned and was partially redacted to prevent individuals being identified, also included complaints from those involved in the sport that there was a bullying culture in elite men’s cricket.

“Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands,” said the review, which was released on Monday.

The scandal involved Australian players using sandpaper to alter the flight of the ball in a Test match against South Africa last March at Cape Town’s Newlands Stadium.

Coach Darren Lehmann quit in the wake of the controversy and then-captain Steve Smith, deputy David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft received lengthy bans.

The scandal also claimed the scalps of CA chief executive James Sutherland and team performance boss Pat Howard.

“The broad consensus amongst stakeholders is that CA does not consistently ‘live’ its values and principles,” the review said.

“CA is perceived to say one thing and do another. The most common description of CA is as ‘arrogant’ and ‘controlling’.”

It said under such circumstances, the ball-tampering scandal was foreseeable but CA failed to act.

‘Gilded bubble’

The Australian Cricketers’ Association said the 145-page report, written by Ethics Centre chief Simon Longstaff, clearly showed CA placed too much pressure on players to win.

“Given this, there must be a reconsideration of the harshness of the penalties handed down to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft,” it added, calling for the bans to be reduced.

But the players did not escape criticism in Longstaff’s report.

He said they existed in a “gilded bubble” of privilege and wealth that left them isolated from everyday life and unable to keep their feet on the ground.

Longstaff said some felt pressure to “play the mongrel” against opponents but could lose perspective and “risk becoming that person”.

He likened cricket’s relentless pursuit of victory to the Australian banking sector’s drive for excessive profits, which has led to revelations that dead people were charged for services that were never provided.

“That a financial institution ‘robbed the dead’ is as unthinkable as an Australian cricket player taking sandpaper onto the field of play,” he said.

“And (it) has prompted a similar response from the Australian public.” CA chairman David Peever said the review was a chance for the body to “look in the mirror”.

“It has been a difficult and confronting time for everyone involved in Australian cricket, and for that I am sorry,” he said.

“Mistakes have been made, lessons have been learnt, and changes are and will continue to take place.”

Peever indicated he would not be joining the exodus from CA and said the 12-month bans on Smith and Warner and a nine-month ban on Bancroft would stand.

The review was non-binding but he said he was considering the report’s 42 recommendations, including an anti-harassment code to stop sledging and training to improve team leaders’ “moral courage”.

“CA is already well advanced in some areas with more than half of the recommendations in development or already implemented before we commissioned the review,” he said.

Test captain Tim Paine, who took over from the disgraced Smith, agreed with some of Longstaff’s points but said players were now determined to give back to the game.

“I think we got a little bit wrapped up in our own self-importance,” he told reporters.

“We’re the lucky ones playing for Australia. It’s not our cricket team, it’s Australia’s cricket team, and I think for a little while, we lost that.”

To coincide with the report’s release, CA released a “players pact” calling on cricketers to respect the game’s tradition and “make Australians proud”.

Similar initiatives in the past, such as the “Spirit of Cricket” charter in 2003, had little impact.

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One killed in Lanka violence as constitutional crisis persists

COLOMBO: A constitutional crisis gripping Sri Lanka since the president’s ,shock dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, erupted into violence on Sunday, with a man shot dead and two others injured in Colombo.

Police said bodyguards for a Sri Lankan cabinet minister allied to Wickremesinghe fired live rounds inside a government ministry as a mob loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena besieged the minister’s office. Three people were injured but a 34-year-old man died shortly afterwards.

It was the first fatality since Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on Friday and installed a former president as prime minister, triggering political chaos in the Indian Ocean nation.

Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate the prime minister’s official residence, barricading himself inside as 1,000 supporters, including chanting Buddhist monks, rallied outside.

The 69-year-old says his sacking is illegal, and wants an emergency session of parliament held to prove he still commands a majority.

Sirisena shut parliament for nearly three weeks to forestall any challenge to his appointment of Mahinda Rajapakse, a former president.

Rajapakse sought blessings at a prominent Buddhist temple on Sunday as he jostled to consolidate his claim to the prime ministership.

But Wickremesinghe got a boost as Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker refused to endorse his sacking.

Karu Jayasuriya backed Wickremesinghe’s request to retain his privileges and security until another candidate could prove a majority in parliament, saying it was “democratic and fair”. He also warned the president that shuttering parliament risked “serious and undesirable consequences for the country”.

Officials loyal to Rajapakse said police would now seek a court order to evict Wickremesinghe from the residence, threatening to escalate the standoff.

Soldiers had been stationed near the residence, although Wickreme­singhe’s security and official cars were withdrawn on Saturday.

Tensions were high across Colombo, with police leave cancelled amid warnings street violence could break out if the president did not immediately summon parliament to end the impasse.

“Don’t try to create a civil war in this country,” party legislator Karunarathna Paranawithana told reporters at the prime minister’s residence.

Regional neighbours and Western nations have urged all sides to exercise restraint and respect the constitution.

Shooting

But violence broke out inside the petroleum ministry as police guarding Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired on a mob surrounding his office.

Witnesses saw Ranatunga, 54, also a former World Cup winning cricket captain, rushed from the scene in a tactical helmet and body armour by police commandos.

In his first televised address to the nation since the crisis began, Sirisena said on Sunday he sacked Wickremesinghe over personal differences.

“Apart from our ideological differences, we also had serious cultural differences,” Sirisena said, referring to Wickremesinghe’s liberal background and his own rural conservative upbringing.

He said he had no choice but to appoint Rajapakse, and urged parliament to support him.

Loyalists to Rajapakse still control the headquarters of two state-run television channels.

The controversial new prime minister visited a Buddhist temple on Sunday in the central district of Kandy to seek blessings from monks.

Plans to appoint some cabinet members had been delayed until Monday, aides said. Rajapakse is yet to make a formal statement since being elevated to the new post.

He is seen as being closer to China than Wickremesinghe, who had sought to re-establish stronger ties with traditional ally and regional power India.

The crisis has again put the Indian Ocean in the international spotlight following turmoil in the Maldives over its presidential election.

India said it was “closely following” events in Colombo.

“As a democracy and a close friendly neighbour, we hope that democratic values and the constitutional process will be respected,” India’s foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Sunday.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2018

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TV anchor challenges decision on pre-arrest bail plea

ISLAMABAD: Television anchor Dr Shahid Masood on Saturday challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) the special judge central’s judgement of dismissing his pre-arrest bail plea in a corruption case.

Mr Masood through his counsel Shah Khawar filed a petition, saying that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was victimising him for being critical to the government.

It may be mentioned that the pre-arrest bail of Mr Masood was rejected by Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti on Thursday. However, when the judge announced his decision the anchor had left the court premises.

While the FIA is making efforts for Mr Masood’s arrest, his counsel filed the petition before the IHC seeking his pre-arrest bail in the case related to alleged embezzlement in Pakistan Television during his stint as the state-run PTV’s managing director and chairman.

The anchor is allegedly involved in embezzlement of Rs37 million while acquiring the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) media rights in 2008 for which an agreement was signed with a fake company, namely M/S ISS.

Investigators in the case claimed that the amount had been released and it caused a loss of millions of dollars to PTV as the state-run television had failed to acquire the PCB’s media rights from 2008 to 2013.

According to the prosecution, Dr Masood had allegedly signed an agreement with a fake company to negotiate with the PCB for grant of rights to PTV for coverage of matches played in Pakistan. It said that because of the agreement PTV had to face heavy financial losses.

In the petition, Mr Masood pointed out that he was not nominated in the First Information Report registered in this case.

He claimed that if he was arrested he would suffer an irreparable loss to his repute and health and requested the court to grant him bail till adjudication of the complaint filed against him by the FIA before the special judge central.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 28, 2018 at 8:26 am

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Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas shoots to third in Test rankings

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Abbas rose to number three in the Test bowling rankings on Sunday following his 17 wickets in the series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates.

The 28-year-old took 10 for 95 to help Pakistan to ,their biggest Test win, — a 373-run hammering of Australia — in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Friday, giving them a 1-0 series win. He took seven wickets in the drawn first Test in Dubai.

The new International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings see Abbas shoot to third from 14th and he is now behind only England’s James Anderson and South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada.

Abbas has taken 59 wickets in his 10 matches and became the joint second-fastest Pakistani to take 50 wickets during the second Test — a mark he shares with legendary paceman Waqar Younis and Shabbir Ahmed.

Pakistan’s leg-spinner Yasir Shah was the fastest to reach 50 wickets, taking just nine Tests.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 21, 2018 at 5:25 pm

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‘I say sorry to Pakistan’: Danish Kaneria admits to involvement in spot-fixing scandal

Danish Kaneria has finally admitted his role in a fixing scandal that led to the imprisonment of former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield after six years of denials, Britain’s ,Daily Mail, reported late on Wednesday.

Kaneria, who was given a life ban by English cricket chiefs that effectively applied worldwide, said in an interview for an Al Jazeera television documentary quoted by the Mail: “My name is Danish Kaneria and I admit that I was guilty of the two charges brought against me by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2012.”

Leg-spinner Kaneria, who insisted he was repentant as he called for his life ban to be overturned, added: “I want to apologise to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, my Essex cricket club, my Essex cricket fans. I say sorry to Pakistan.”

Westfield spent two months at Belmarsh prison in south-east London after pleading guilty to accepting 6,000 pounds ($7,862) from an illegal bookmaker, Anu Bhatt, to concede 12 runs in his first over of an English county 40-over game against Durham in 2009. He conceded only 10, but still took the money.

Kaneria was the “middle-man” in the scam, having introduced Westfield to Bhatt, but avoided criminal charges when English legal authorities decided they lacked the evidence for a conviction.

Now 37, Kaneria remains Pakistan’s leading spinner with 261 Test wickets.

‘Forgiveness’

He last played for Pakistan in the Trent Bridge Test of 2010, and has not appeared in any first-class game since March 2012, with all major boards upholding the ECB ban under International Cricket Council guidance.

“I want to ask people’s forgiveness,” said Kaneria. “Cricket has given me so much in my life and I want to give something back.”

“If the ECB and ICC and other bodies would give me a second chance I can help to educate young people in cricket, teach them that if you do wrong you are finished like me.”

Kaneria said the fear of embarrassing his father, who died in 2013 and had been suffering from cancer, explained part of the reason behind his repeated denials of wrongdoing.

“His health was getting worse and worse,” he recalled. “I didn’t have the courage to face him and tell him that I was wrong. He was a very, very proud guy. Very, very proud of me and what I did, representing Pakistan, representing my country.”

“I want to apologise to my father, who has always been a role model for me.”

Meanwhile Westfield told the Mail he accepted Kaneria’s apology, saying: “This whole chapter of spot-fixing changed my life, but I have never blamed anyone for the terrible mistake I made.

“However, opening up about my wrongdoing and telling the truth allowed me to move on,” added Westfield, now 30, who was banned from professional cricket for five years after being released from jail but has since played club and minor county matches.

“I hope that Danish finds peace and closure by doing this, and I wish him all the best for the future.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 18, 2018 at 9:26 am

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Mani calls BCCI ‘hypocrite’ over refusal to play bilateral series

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani believes that India’s continued refusal to play bilateral series with Pakistan when it routinely faces the arch-rivals in ICC events amounts to “hypocrisy”.

Pakistan and India last played a bilateral event in 2013 when the former toured the latter for a three-match ODI series. In the half a decade since, India has refused to honour its contractual obligations with the PCB by neither sending its team to Pakistan nor inviting them over.

During this time, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has used political tensions between the two neighbours as its excuse.

But Mani, in an ,interview, with ESPNcricinfo, wondered where his Indian counterparts’ reasoning disappears when it comes to ICC tournaments such as the Champions Trophy or the two world cups.

“There is a lot of hypocrisy at the moment,” said the PCB chair whose board is locked in a legal battle with the BCCI. “India plays an ICC event against us but doesn’t play a bilateral series. That is something that we need to address.”

While Mani admitted that Pak-India matches have an unmatched financial side to it, he insisted that that is not the real reason why he wants the two rivals to renew their rivalry.

“Money isn’t the issue, it’s more about the game,” he said. “There are more viewers for an India-Pakistan match than any other match in the world. So, if the Indian government decides to deprive its own citizens of watching an India-Pakistan match then that is their choice.”

Mani linked the BCCI’s hardened stance on the matter with next year’s Indian elections, something he feels will not change in the immediate future. However, he is fairly confident that due to public demand the Indian government will find it very hard to keep on blocking Pak-India bilateral series.

“The main thing is that we play cricket against each other. When we play cricket, especially in our countries – when we go to India or when they come here – helps in increasing people-to-people contact. Indian fans come to Pakistan. Lakhs of fans have come to Pakistan from India and everyone goes back happy.

“There’s no better way to improve the relations between countries than having sporting contacts, cultural contacts. For me, that is far more important than any amount of money that comes into the game.

“Indian public obviously love to see India and Pakistan playing, and so does the Pakistan public. Rest of the work is of the politicians and frankly, once India is in the lead-up to its elections next year, so I don’t think there will be any softening in their attitude. But in the long term, the people want it and you can’t go against the will of the people forever.”

Mani is of the opinion that the bilateral inactivity is a loss for the sport but he has also made it clear that he is not desperate for the cricketing ties to be rekindled.

“I don’t intend to ask India to play us at all,” he said. “If they want to play they tell us, if they don’t want to play that’s fine. But we are not going to go after them, we are not going to beg them. It’s good for the game if India-Pakistan play each other but it will be on equal terms.”

The two countries currently await the verdict of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) dispute panel — a route of mediation Mani’s predecessor Najam Sethi had chosen. If it was up to Mani, however, he says he would not have gone the same way and instead opted to resolve the dispute with the BCCI without involving the global governing body.

“I would have preferred for there to be board-to-board discussions and board-to-government decisions,” he said. “I was ICC [president] in 2003 and India and Pakistan were not playing each other then.

“I went and met the Indian government and I took with me the people that were leading the Indian cricket board at that time – Mr. [Jagmohan] Dalmiya, Mr. [IS] Bindra, Mr. Rajsingh [Dungarpur] – and we went to the different ministries concerned with India-Pakistan cricket relations, and they spoke more in favour of resuming cricket between India and Pakistan than I did as a Pakistani.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 17, 2018 at 3:25 am

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LHC accepts petition to remove Sharjeel Khan’s name from ECL

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday accepted cricketer Sharjeel Khan’s petition to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL), DawnNewsTV reported.

Justice Shahid Waheed heard the petition to decide the maintainability of the case. The petition, filed on Khan’s behalf by his counsel Ejaz Ahmed, says that the cricketer was unable to go to perform Umrah and meet his brother in Dubai due to travel restrictions placed on him. It further argues that the interior ministry illegally placed Khan’s name on the ECL.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), interior ministry and the Federal Investigation Agency have been nominated as respondents.

The high court office had earlier dismissed the petition as non-maintainable. The LHC, however, overturned that decision. Even if a petition is declared as non-maintainable by court office, the case is sent to a judge.

Khan was ,slapped with a five-year ban, from playing cricket by a PCB-appointed Anti-Corruption Unit last year after he was found guilty of ,spot-fixing, in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

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Australia dash Pakistan’s dreams by drawing first Test

The first Test between Pakistan and Australia ended in a draw on Thursday after the Green Shirts did not manage to take the two wickets required to gain a 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series.

Even though Yasir Shah took three wickets in quick succession to revive Pakistan’s hopes for victory, the lull that followed soon after made the game quite uninteresting by the last over.

His third and fourth victim in the game were Mitchell Starc (1) and Peter Siddle (0) soon after he had taken the crucial wicket of set batsmen and hero of the day — Usman Khawaja.

Khawaja (141) — whose fighting hundred had kept Pakistan’s victory bid in check — had to departed for the pavilion as Shah took him on a lbw appeal in the 126th over.

The batsmen was unbeaten on 120 for his seventh Test century and with him skipper Tim Paine was 19 not out as Australia — set a daunting 462-run target — need to bat out another 31 overs for a draw.

Australia's Usman Khawaja plays a shot during the fifth day of play of the first Test cricket match in the series between Australia and Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium. — AFP

Australia’s Usman Khawaja plays a shot during the fifth day of play of the first Test cricket match in the series between Australia and Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium. — AFP

Khawaja had added an invaluable 132 runs for the fourth wicket with Travis Head (72) as Pakistan failed to get a single wicket in the first session after Australia resumed at 136-3.

He took a single to short mid-wicket off to Mohammad Hafeez to complete his century that has so far included 11 boundaries.

No team has successfully chased more than the 418-7 West Indies made against Australia in the Antigua Test in 2003.

Pakistan had expected early wickets after jolting Australia to 136-3 at the close on the fourth day, but nothing worked for skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who made multiple bowling changes.

Pakistan could have had Head leg-before off leg-spinner Yasir Shah on 44, but Sarfraz did not review English umpire Richard Kettleborough’s not out decision when replays showed the ball hitting the wickets.

Pakistan were only rewarded after lunch when they took the second new ball as soon as it was due and Hafeez trapped Head leg-before with the first ball.

Yasir Shah took his first in the match when he dismissed Marnus Labuschagne for 13.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 11, 2018 at 5:25 pm

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That’s wife! Century maker Hafeez reveals Test return inspiration

Veteran opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez celebrated his recall with a century in the first Test against Australia on Sunday and revealed his wife had persuaded him not to quit the sport.

Hafeez, 37, capped his return to the Test team after a gap of two years with a brilliant 126, helping his team to 255-3 on the first day of the opening match in Dubai.

Hafeez had decided to announce his retirement from cricket but wife Nazia and former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar stepped in to persuade him he still had a role to play.

“I was mentally disturbed after being dropped from the Asia Cup team,” said Hafeez of last month’s axing from the one-day side.

“I could have taken a drastic step but I was stopped by my wife and then Shoaib Akhtar phoned me as well.” Hafeez, who also did not play in any of the five one-day internationals in Zimbabwe in July despite being in the squad, hailed his teammates.

“I could have been doing something else (had I retired),” said Hafeez after putting on a solid 205-run opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq who made a career best 76.

“But probably this was the place where I had to stage a comeback. When I came back in the team all the players welcomed me and gave me confidence and that increased my inner energy.”

Hafeez was dropped from the Test side after faring poorly in the first three matches of Pakistan’s series in England two years ago.

“I am very happy after this hundred. I tried my level best in the last couple of years to get back into this format and I am so happy to get a chance after a long time.

“I had no fear at all. I really backed myself and I knew that whenever it is the right time I will perform.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 7, 2018 at 11:25 pm

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Steve Smith, AB de Villiers headline star-studded PSL 2019 Platinum category

South African legend ,AB de Villiers, and former Australia captain Steve Smith are just two of several international superstars assigned Platinum statuses by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the fourth season draft of the Pakistan Super League, scheduled to be played from February 14 to March 17 next year.

The 14-member Platinum category holds foreign stars of the highest pedigree, from which the six PSL teams will get to pick when the player draft takes place.

In addition to the aforesaid duo, the PSL Platinum category also contains West Indian trio of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo, who was picked by Peshawar Zalmi last year but couldn’t join the team due to an injury.

Pollard, the Multan Sultans all-rounder, said he was looking forward to playing in the PSL once again.

“PSL is an extremely competitive tournament. Whenever availability permits, I always look forward to playing in it.” — Kieron Pollard

Narine, who has been an integral part of the Lahore Qalandars squad, shared his excitement at seeing so many stars sign up for the 2019 edition.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the PSL in all these seasons,” he said. “The next year should be even bigger and better with such an impressive player roster.”

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Australian star Chris Lynn, who missed out on representing Lahore Qalandars in last year’s tournament due to an injury, has signed with the PSL again for the upcoming season.

Lynn is joined on the list by fellow Australian star Shane Watson, who topped the batting charts for Quetta Gladiators last year with 319 runs in 10 matches.

Meanwhile, Black Caps wicket-keeper batsman Luke Ronchi has been promoted from Diamond to Platinum this year, given his prolific form last season where he was the tournament’s highest run-scorer with 435 runs in 11 matches for Islamabad United.

“I had a phenomenal run with the Pakistan Super League last year and I can’t wait to get back into action. I loved the hospitality of the people when we played in Karachi and we managed to create some very special memories by lifting the trophy last year.” — Luke Ronchi

Ronchi now shares the Platinum category with former New Zealand teammates Brendon McCullum and Mitchell McClenaghan.

Afghanistan spin sensation Rashid Khan, who is currently on the Quetta Gladiators roster, also looks forward to play in his first PSL after missing out last year due to national duty.

Sri Lankan all-rounder and former Gladiator Thisara Perera also finds his name on the Platinum list.

South Africa and Karachi Kings batsman Colin Ingram also returns as a Platinum pick on the back of a very successful T20 campaign in England, where he scored 430 runs in 11 matches this season.

“Playing with Karachi Kings gave me a great opportunity to interact with some lovely people from Pakistan. The quality of cricket in the PSL stood out for me but, more importantly, I am very proud of the fact that I played in Pakistan and experienced what this game means to Pakistani fans.” — Colin Ingram

The Platinum category foreign players who were a part of PSL squads last season can be retained, traded or released into the Draft Pool.

With the trade and retention window currently open, the next few weeks could be pivotal for the franchises’ fortunes in 2019 as they make key decisions on player retentions, trades and releases.

“This is a very exciting mix of top quality foreign players,” said PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani. “In the next few days, PSL will continue to announce more foreign player signings in various categories as the excitement grows around what should be an extremely interesting Player Draft.”

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